Winter Trout Fishing – Gunpowder River and Upper Patuxent River

I’ve made it out for a few hours the last couple weekends, throwing streamers for brown trout on Maryland’s few trout rivers.

I have a strong suspicion that the Patuxent experiences a bit of poaching in the winter and spring.

I enjoyed a mud slog at the upper Patuxent River in the rolling hills of rural Montgomery County with my girlfriend and dog, but the conditions were unfishable.  The rain the previous day had the river up and full of mud, and I could count the spots I fished on two hands.

The sun appeared for most of the day, warming the air.

I’ve had one good day on this river a few years ago, but most of the times I’ve fished it the water levels have been less than stellar.  That said, I enjoyed the walk in the mud (Maryland streams are usually a little nasty) as did the dog.

High water at the junction of the Cabin Branch and Patuxent River.

Yesterday I again tried my luck at Gunpowder Falls in Baltimore County.  I’ve had plenty of good days on the Gunpowder, but never in winter (I think I’m one for four the last couple years).  It was cold in the canyon, snow on the ground, and the water level was on the higher side.

The cold and very clean Gunpowder Falls.  The didymo was mostly cleared from the rocks, making wading a little easier.

I did a bit of aggressive wading, throwing a slump-buster streamer (appropriate name for me) along the banks, letting the fly pulsate in the current along sunken timber and cut banks.  In the riffles and faster water, I didn’t see a thing.

I moved farther south to sections of slower glides (at least they looked slower before I hopped in the water), and I again worked the fly (with a little split-shot) along the cut banks, holes, and floated it back into sections of slower water.  I had one tap, maybe two, while letting the fly hover in a couple slower holes, which kept me going as my feet went completely numb.

The sun set, and I walked back to the parking lot, the last vehicle there.  I saw one other fisherman in the course of the day, throwing streamers near the parking lot.

I tried a new “rig” on my trip to the Gunpowder.  Expecting to fish some of the slower glides, I rigged up a very long leader:  8′ of cut-back mono leader (ending in about 15lb test), 4′ of fluorescent indicator leader (as used in Czech nymphing), and another 6′ of 3X tippet.  All told, the leader was close to 20′ long, and while it wasn’t great to cast, I was able to cast fairly accurately within a 30′ range (after getting out 5-10′ of fly line) and by double hauling pretty hard.  I think this kind of rig is a good move where the slap of a fly line in calm water might spook a fish, or where I am high sticking/nymphing streamers along cut banks.

In all, a couple frustrating outings (despite getting to spend time outdoors), and looking forward to my trip in two weeks to the creeks of North Carolina (and the redfish, stripers, and seatrout that call them home this time of year).

One Comment Add yours

  1. John Ogram says:

    I admire your persistence and fortitude while we old folks are holed up next to our fireplaces. Ospreys should return in the next week or two and my crabbers tell me the bay has been ten degrees warmer this year than last – maybe good year for reds??


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